French power firm chief 'target of financial probe'

The head of the French electricity company EDF, Henri Proglio, is the target of a probe by France's General Finance Inspection service after he signed off on a proposed plan between EDF and the Chinese company CGNPC, a source close to the matter said Wednesday.

The source confirmed a report that appeared earlier in the day in the investigative weekly Canard Enchaine.

Proglio will also face questions next week from an EDF committee that oversees the group's strategy, added the source, who wished to remain anonymous.

The committee, which is comprised of a few EDF board members, had rejected in early April the draft agreement that was reached in November 2011, the source said.

After being criticised by the French agency on state shareholdings, APE, the deal was blocked in April by the former French economy minister, the Canard Enchaine reported.

The source, which had access to sensitive EDF files, said that in negotiating the deal with CGNPC, Proglio "went far. He gave the Chinese access to secret technologies."

In September, a French nuclear policy council nonetheless approved a three-party agreement between EDF, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC), and the French nuclear construction group Areva that covers plans for a possible new French-Chinese nuclear reactor.

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